Our society has painted an image of resilience as being about overcoming anything through endurance. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” sums this philosophy up. On its own, this is a myth. Even the toughest of the tough have habits and practices that help them recharge their batteries. The reality is that resilience is about developing deep reserves and a mindset to tap them when needed.
We have all made it through one of the biggest slogs a peacetime society can ever go through, the pandemic. Many folks’ relationships emerged from this experience “run down”. I get daily calls from couples whose love tanks are completely depleted. Yet there are other couples who thrived in the pandemic. Why is that? The couples who thrived walked the fine line between self-care and investing in their relationship, while the depleted couples toughed it out, sacrificing for their families and ultimately running down their own batteries. While they were doing that they engaged in communication patterns that further damaged them as individuals as well as their relationship.
For sure “we can get through this” is part of resilience”. Resilience is about developing deep reserves and a mindset to tap them. The images we have of marines toughing out adverse conditions to get to the other side are in alignment with this. What we don’t see is that those very same marines have a lot of downtimes to prepare for those conditions. When they are not struggling with adversity, the military makes all their decisions for them, feeds them large and healthy meals. They are exercised, trained, and prepared. They have regular sleep hours- except when they are being trained to manage sleep deprivation.
Everything about what the military does when indoctrinating and training personnel is about charging their mental, physical and emotional batteries for those tough times. Military personnel is given leave in wartimes. Why? Because they need to recharge. The mindset of resilience is all about goals and developing the habits and systems needed to reach them and a huge part of that is charging our batteries.
Taking these principles and applying them to our relationships is simple- not necessarily easy. First, we focus on ourselves. Everyone functions better when our mind, body, and emotions are well cared for. We can not give as much to others if we are not 100% ourselves. Our first priority is making sure we get adequate rest, nourishment, exercise, and spiritual food. Yes, there will be times where we cut corners here or there. Those are the times we are drawing on our well-charged batteries. Like a good marine, we will eventually return to regular self-care habits to recharge. Maybe we are moving. Perhaps starting a divorce. We may interrupt our regimen, but then we return ASAP. If you don’t have a “regimen” you are at a disadvantage. Time to re-invest in yourself!
We will be investing in the relationship in a very similar fashion. Relationships thrive on activity. Doing things together. Good communication is the starting point. Schedule time to be alone and talk. Having a charged battery is a place of emotional strength. If you find yourself feeling criticized and/or attacked all the time with good self-care, the chances are you need to get some help with that.
Going to blame and anger, when we are taking good care of ourselves, indicates we need a mental tune-up. A coach or therapist with expertise in trigger management will help. resilience is about developing deep reserves and a mindset to tap them. Find activities you both like. Do chores together. Watch a show together and talk about what is going on in the show. Read a book together and talk about it. Exercise together. Support one another in your hobbies. These are all strong ways to invest in your relationship and charge that battery. Do this and your relationship will endure the hard times as well as thrive in the good. If you want to learn more about what resilience is, go to our blog post: https://richinrelationship.com/what-is-resilience/